The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 4, 2013

When the new tech. starts to make you feel older

By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor

Friday, January 3, 2013 — I was sitting on my sister-in-law’s couch on New Year’s Day enjoying a great Rose Bowl game between Stanford and Wisconsin when something became evident to me.

As Brent Musburger, a broadcaster I have watched on TV all my life since the days of “The NFL Today,” announced that this was the 99th Rose Bowl, a game traditionally called “the granddaddy of them all.”

It wasn’t five minutes later on the ESPN broadcast that Musburger read a promo for the Watch ESPN app for the mobile phones.

App, I learned is short  for application software, the technical jargon for a program designed to run on a mobile device like a phone or tablet.

I thought to myself about the difference between those two statements and how the entire concept of how sports is covered now with the latest technology.

My beautiful wife and I just got IPhones for each other as a part of the Christmas holidays and I admit to being a little intimidated with this newfangled contraption.

I only recently discovered that Time Warner Cable has an app that lets me watch live television from certain channels on digital cable as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection (wireless internet connection).

This means that I can be sitting on my comfy couch in the living room of my abode and watch the ball game while Laura and I watch something else on the regular TV. It’s like having picture-in-picture with sound on both.

If that is not enough sports for you, with the right phone or tablet (like the IPad) and a cable TV subscription, the rabid sports fan can also with a WiFi connection use the Mobile ESPN app to watch live feeds from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 from any public place with public wireless internet access, known as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Then, I found out one time while sitting in a waiting room at Carmen Carmen in the Ballantyne area that I could access Netflix using a Wi-Fi device.

Netflix is a subscription service that allows a humble viewer to watch unlimited movies, television (including great sports movies and documentaries) and other specials for one monthly fee.

So here I was watching a classic “Law and Order” episode (classic means when the late Jerry Orbach, aka Det. Lenny Briscoe, was on the show) and I really barely noticed the pasNot only can the sports fan of 2013 get live sports on a device, but the access to on-demand sports shows, as well as reading about sports, can be done anywhere you can get a cell signal.

This is one of the reasons I have tried to use Twitter more to keep people up to date with scores and more while covering games in person. I want all of you, my gentle readers, to be able to get the scores as fast as possible, then be able to find out more of the details, storylines and other little tidbits from the games in the print editions of the paper.

As much as I enjoy all the new technology and the ability to see sports in more places, nothing still beats sitting down on a comfy chair to enjoy a hot cup of jasmine tea with a little honey and reading a newspaper.

Newspapers read in good lighting will never hurt your eyes as much as a television or computer screen can, in my humble opinion as someone that works on a computer for several hours a day then goes home to watch “Supernatural” on Netflix and “Duck Dynasty” on regular cable television.

There is something about feeling the weight of that paper in your hands, smelling the newsprint and getting a little ink on your fingertips that E-readers and the Kindle Fire will never be able to recreate.

So, like the great philosopher Aristotle talked about when he wrote on the golden mean between excess and deficiency, I believe we should all find a balance between the old and the new media.

Like so many other parts of our society, the old should not always be thrown out for the new; the two should be able to work together in harmony.